Whooping cough cases surge in England and Wales

Parents in England and Wales have been urged to get their children vaccinated against whooping cough, also known as pertussis, after cases of the illness rose by 147 percent in 2011.
In total, there were 1,040 diagnoses of the disease in England and Wales in 2011, which was up from 421 the previous year. While there is a vaccination program for young children, the last few months have seen more cases among people aged 15 to 40, who are more infectious than children and spread the disease more readily, the Daily Mirror reports.
“It is important that parents are not afraid to get children immunized against whooping cough," Warren Lenney, a representative of the British Lung Foundation, said, according to the Daily Mirror. "Sometimes in the past there have been periods where uptake of various immunizations has been low and the result has been a rise in the associated diseases.”
The most recent U.K. figures show that 94.8 percent of new-born children had their first whooping cough vaccination within 12 months. By the age of five, 87.7 percent had also been given a booster shot.
“We usually see a rise in cases of whooping cough every three to four years," Mary Ramsay, a doctor with the Health Protection Agency, said, according to the Daily Mirror. "The uptake of the vaccine which protects against whooping cough is very good but it is a highly infectious disease so when there is a case it can spread quickly. Parents should ensure their children are up to date with their vaccinations.”